Estate administration is something most people do not do more than once or twice in their life, so it is often a stressful and confusing prospect. This is especially true because most executors or administrators of wills are a close family member or friend of the person who passed away. This means you need to focus on legal and financial matters just days or weeks after losing your loved one.
If you are the executor or administrator of someone else’s estate, sitting down with a Haddonfield estate administration attorney can help you understand your role and prevent you from making expensive mistakes. At Bratton Law, our skilled and compassionate lawyers provide the guidance you need to help you through the estate administration process. You can make an appointment with an estate administration attorney in Haddonfield by calling 856-857-6007.
Our Estate Administration Attorney Can Provide the Help You Need
As the executor of a will or the administrator of an estate, you may feel like you have a lot of weight on your shoulders. After all, managing someone else’s final affairs and distributing their assets is a serious responsibility. You may need to gather your loved one’s assets, determine their value, pay any outstanding bills, determine the taxes owed, and then distribute any money or other assets left to the heirs listed in the will.
Many people feel lost and confused and are not sure where to begin dealing with their responsibilities. This is understandable, especially if you are still in the early days of grieving your lost loved one.
Losing a family member or close friend can make it difficult to focus, and many people feel like they are in a fog for weeks or months afterward. This makes it difficult to get through the more complex steps of administering an estate without someone with knowledge and experience to support you and guide you through this process.
Often, we can help estate administrators understand their duties and get started in just a single meeting. Our knowledgeable probate and estate administration attorneys can also help you navigate the entire process. Even if you have a good idea of what you need to do, having an estate administration lawyer on your side can make things go more smoothly and reduce your stress.
Guidance on New Jersey Probate Laws
Many of the most common questions we hear about estate administration relate to probate. This process prevents fraud after someone dies, and ensures the executor follows the person’s wishes as outlined in their will.
Probate is not always necessary; New Jersey law does not require all wills to go through probate. We can advise you whether probate is necessary in your case or not. Many times, especially when the deceased was married and owned all assets jointly, there is no need to admit the will to probate.
If the will does require admittance to probate, you will need to go Surrogate’s Court. The County Surrogate is an official who handles probates. The thought of going to court frightens many people, but this should not intimidate you. Surrogate’s Court is different from the courtrooms you see on television. Typically, you will just meet the Surrogate in his or her office. In some areas, you may only need to talk to a clerk in the Surrogate’s office to probate a will.
The purpose of probating a will is to prove the will is valid and to officially give the executor the legal right to gather, value, and payout the assets of the deceased. Usually this is a rather quick process where the Surrogate or his or her clerk will ensure the deceased party signed the will and it is authentic. Most wills today are “self-proving,” which means witnesses saw the person sign it, and the signatures were notarized. When the Surrogate sees this, there is usually no other documentation required to admit the will to probate.
While this process usually goes smoothly, we understand many people feel trepidation and stress over the entire process. We can walk you through this step-by-step, and make everything proceed more efficiently and with less anxiety.
Bratton Law Offers a Full-Range of Services for Estate Administrators in NJ
We can assist you with almost any probate or estate administration matter. This includes:
- Advising you of your responsibilities as an executor
- Walking you through this process step-by-step
- Helping you understand tax implications
- Filing the proper tax forms
- Deciding if you need to file federal estate or inheritance taxes
- Deciding if you need to file New Jersey estate or inheritance taxes
- Helping you understand how to fund trusts as necessary
- Offering advice on managing charitable beneficiaries, including notifying the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office
- Assistance with any accounting necessary before distributing the estate
- Offering legal protections to the executor
- Representing the executor in any litigation that stems from the will
No matter the situation, we can help you navigate your role as executor of a will or administrator of an estate. You can handle your responsibilities in a much less stressful way when you understand the process you will follow and know you have a skilled estate administration attorney by your side. Our attorneys, legal team, and on-staff social workers are here to provide advice, resources, and support to help you in any way we can.
Discuss Your Situation with a Knowledgeable Probate Attorney
Probate and estate administration does not have to be a stress-inducing and nerve-wracking process. We serve clients who are in similar situations every day, and we can ensure you receive the same compassionate and supportive service from our attorneys and legal team.
If you need help with probate and estate administration in Haddonfield, contact Bratton Law today by calling 856-857-6007.